Master Mark Taylor, Oh Dan (5th Degree Black Belt)

Master Taylor began his training in July of 1984 at the age of 12 under the instruction of Master Michael Hicks in Montgomery, AL. Two years later, in May of 1986, he was promoted to black belt. Instructor training began in earnest, and by the time he achieved his 2nd degree black belt he was running his own class under Master Hicks’ continued guidance. 

This continued until Master Taylor went to Tulane University to study Architecture in the fall of 1989. While at Tulane, Master Taylor continued his training with the Tulane University Martial Arts Club and was the president of this multi-disciplinary group for 2 years, expanding his studies to include Tae Kwon do and Tai Chi while continuing to teach Tang Soo Do. 

Upon Graduation, Master Taylor returned to Montgomery, AL for a short time and continued to train with Master Hicks, Before moving to Orlando, FL for another brief period. From March to October of 1999, Master Taylor decided to take a personal journey to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Approximately 2100+ miles on foot over rugged terrain. Upon completion of the AT, Master Taylor moved to Seattle, WA where he met Master Steve Elmore. Master Elmore created Evergreen TSD at the West Seattle YMCA in 2004 with Master Taylor as assistant Instructor. 

In January of 2009, Puget Sound Tang Soo Do was created to better serve the West Seattle YMCA with Master Taylor as Chief Instructor. After a long journey, Master Taylor was promoted to 4th Dan Master in July of 2011. During this time in Seattle, he also met his wife Jennifer. They welcomed the birth of their daughter Lena in November of 2009. 

Over the years, Master Taylor has put his design skills to use in order to assist the World Tang Soo Do Association in realizing GrandMaster Shin’s dream of a World Headquarters. 20 years in the making, the Phase one Headquarters building opened in July of 2012. 

Brandon Uttech, Sam Dan (3rd Degree Black Belt)

Brandon began training in 1985 under the direction of his father, Master Roy Uttech. In addition to his continued Tang Soo Do training, he also practices Araki-Ryu, a koryu (classical Japanese martial tradition), under the instruction of Ellis Amdur. 

Brandon has also studied Judo and Tae Kwon Do under Grandmaster Kyu Ha Kim, Shotokan Karate under Jim Heffley, Hung Gar Kung Fu under Sifu John S.S. Leong, and Fiore Long Sword with the Seattle Lonin.

Outside of martial arts, Brandon studies taiko drumming as a performing member of Seattle Kokon Taiko and is kept on his toes by his son, Hiroki.